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1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is a free program at our library to provide a child’s first teachers, their parents, with the tools needed to instill a love of reading, the skills to get ready to read, and an appreciation for the library.

The program is fun and easy, with incentives along the way.  Just stop by the library and fill out a short form to get started.

How the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program works:
1. This program is designed for families with children birth through age 5.

2. Sign up at the library to receive your 1000 Books folder.

3. Record each book read. Repetition is good, so you may record a favorite book more than once.

4. Pick out books you enjoy and have fun reading together. Find a time when you and your child are in a good mood to read. Reading together should never be a chore.

5. Each time you read 100 books, bring in your reading journal to the library. You will receive:

  • two stickers – one for your book/shirt and one for the library bulletin board display in the back hallway
  • Special necklace tag
  • your next set of pages for your reading journal


  • at 500 books, you will receive a surprise.
  • at 1000 books, you will receive a keepsake book with special book plate
  • upon completion of the program, with parent’s permission, you will get your picture taken to be put in the Freeburg Tribune newspaper.

Visit the library often and discover the wonderful variety of books to check out and read together.

Visit us online to request books from other libraries. You pick them up here at the Smithton Public Library District.  There is no cost to you for this service!  There are lots to choose from….over 450 libraries are in our Illinois Heartland Library System! You only need your barcode # and PIN to get started!  Please call us if you need help!

6. You may read books from anywhere: the library, from home, preschool, etc. You may also count books read at Story time programs at the library or school. For library story times, kindly ask the librarian for titles of the books being read.

7. Don’t be daunted! Just 3 books a day amounts to 1000 books in 1 year, and this program is designed to give you time over a few years to meet your goal.

After finishing 1000 Books, your child will receive a certificate of achievement and a book. We will also take their photo (with permission). These pictures will be put in a photo book at the end of each year that stays at the library.  The picture will also be published in the Freeburg Tribune newsppaer with your permission.

Once you have read 1000 books, you are finished with the program. Please continue to read together, and feel free to add your own pages to your reading journal if you wish. We hope that this reading log will become a keepsake for this special time in your child’s life!

Helpful Links:

FAQ – Do you have questions?  This PDF might answer them!  If not, please feel free to contact us!  We’re here to help! – This website is full of useful information to get you excited about embarking on this journey with your child.

Books Your Child Should Hear Before Kindergarten – Tired of reading the same book over and over and over again?  Check out this PDF list of recommended books that your child should hear before they enter kindergarten. (You might just find a new favorite!)

Kindergarten Tip Sheet – Check out this web page, from the Illinois State Board of Education, for tips on what your child will be expected to know before entering Kindergarten.

20 Ways to Raise a Book-Smart Baby – Demco, Inc. has put together a PDF of helpful ways that you can raise a book-smart baby.

Books for Babies and Young Toddlers – Demco, Inc. has put together a list of books for babies and young toddlers.

Books for Two and Three Year Olds – Demco, Inc. has put together a list of books for 2 and 3 year olds.

Books for Four and Five Year Olds – Demco, Inc has put together a list of books for 4 and 5 year olds.

*Name & Logo are used with permission from the 1000 Books Foundation.

*all Demco, Inc. PDFs are copyrighted 2015 from Demco, Inc.

About the author

Smithton Public Library

The Smithton Public Library District is located in southern Illinois, near St. Louis, MO. The library serves nearly 5,000 residents. We hope you visit us soon!